Dermot's Walled Garden
All gardeners enjoy receiving and giving gardening tips and, in the course of my work, I am constantly being asked to share my own personal tips. These tips have come from many years of gardening experience. The gathering of this experience has been a journey that has become an adventure: the adventure of creating my own garden paradise.
As a child, I can remember being taken by my grandmother to visit an old walled garden. On our arrival, I can recall the heavy, solid door to the garden, that gave an incomparable feeling of privacy and aroused my curiosity as to what lay beyond. Inside lay a garden paradise, a secret world full of beauty, an Eden separated from the rest of the world. This place stays vividly in my memory to this day.
Many years later, this memory was to help me fulfil a dream - a dream of someday owning a walled garden where I could indulge my love of plants. In recent years, I purchased Clondeglass Walled Garden, which nestles in the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in County Laois, Ireland, and started the process of achieving this ambition. The garden had long been abandoned and showed very little trace of its former glory, so I immediately set about bringing it back to its original productiveness.
Clondeglass Walled Garden is over an acre of land enclosed by high sandstone walls. As is traditional with these old gardens, the site slopes gently to the south, taking full advantage of the sun's warmth. Outside the walls on the north side is a mature deciduous wood of oak and beech, planted to protect the garden from the north wind. Within the walls, the soil has been cultivated for generations. It is dark and rich and easy to work.
In my garden, I practise traditional gardening methods that I have learned over the last 25 years and, along with these, I am now able to use modern-day interpretations of old ideas. My plan is to create an extraordinary outdoor space within four walls, integrating structural design, carefully balanced with colours, textures and patterns.
Much of my inspiration has come from visiting some of the world's most celebrated gardens, where I have seen both historical and modern designs. I have drawn on these for the creation of the garden at Clondeglass.
In making this garden, I am realising a childhood dream and I hope that I never lose that sense of wonderment and magic as I step through the door into my own walled garden paradise.
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